Overcoming injuries

An athlete’s body is their whole career, some rely on legs more, others arms, and for most athletes, it’s both. So when an athlete gets injured, it can seem like the whole world is beginning to crumble at their feet, and in some cases, this might be the truth, but getting help as soon as they can to soon go back to being ready and able is very essential in the growth of these athletes.

“I play football and baseball.” Tucker Dove, a senior at RNE, says, “I’m a wide receiver and kicker for football. As well as a pitcher/utility for baseball.” Dove plays two very important positions in both sports, so to be injured can be very stressful and worrisome for not only him but his team as well, “I dislocated my knee cap while swinging during a baseball game, but I was also diagnosed with a disease called Patella Alta.” Patella Alta is a rare disease that affects leg mobility and strength. It is when the knee cap grows above the joint, rather than in the joint like it is supposed to.

To help with the surgeries, Dove regularly attends physical therapy, “I go to physical therapy twice a week, it helps build back muscle and movement of my knee,” Dove says. Physical therapy is the process of going through treatment, but rather than with drugs it is done with the exercise, typically physical therapy happens to build up muscles and strength that you lose when going through a surgery, or when you have an injured limb.

Physical therapy can be done professionally, or on your own, depending on how severe the injury is, “I did have to do professional Physical Therapy mid-season but now I have to manage it myself.” Kailynn Shaw, a junior at RNE says, “The way Physical Therapy helps me is it strengthens my inner thigh muscles and calf muscles so I can properly support my knee without needing a brace.” Shaw has an injury in her knee, although it is not as severe as others, she still went through a lot to get better, “Sometime in the past, I hurt my knee really bad but since I was really active it didn’t show up but I took a year off of basketball my sophomore year and it came up as my muscles got weaker.”

Pain management is very important, and Physical therapy helps manage this well, “Physical therapy helps me manage the pain,” Shaw says, “It is amazing with the pain I feel because some days I just ice my knee or add heat to my knee to rest it and give it a break and I’m fine for a while.”

Naturally, when someone is an athlete, scholarships are big talk amongst them, getting noticed by a sponsor then getting a scholarship to make it to college, however when an athlete becomes injured their chances at getting scholarships gets lower, especially with an injury that required surgery, “I had colleges asking me to come to work out with them to earn a scholarship, now I’m out on the bottom of the list because I have to be healed before I workout, so money is given to other athletes before me.” Dove says.

With opportunities slipping away because of injuries, the mental state of injured athletes can sometimes deplete as well, leaving them discouraged, “When people ask me to hang out, or friends wanna come over and I have to restrict myself.” Dove says, “The main discouragement is on game days, having to sit out and just watch, not able to help my team. I feel like I let them down, especially being a senior and it’s my last season with my closest friends.” Being injured does not stop you completely, when going through your physical therapy it is to build up the strength you once had to be able to play like you were once able to.

“It’s been very hard, and I’m glad that God is helping get through it. No one knows how hard it is to have these surgeries and do the things I do.”

Injuries come at unexpected times, and no matter how much it seems like the athlete won’t be able to perform to their fullest. Keeping their spirits up are what injured athletes do best, despite the odds stacked against them.